Localization Scares

Discussion in 'Mostly Harmless (Serious Discussion)' started by Dancougar, Dec 6, 2015.

  1. Dancougar

    Dancougar New Member

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    [​IMG]



    http://blogjob.com/oneangrygamer/2015/12/idea-factory-doesnt-release-some-risque-games-in-the-west-due-to-gender-politics/


    Is there any way we can prevent more publishers from being scared off by the crybullies?
     
  2. Terro

    Terro Well-Known Member

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    I'm too tired to say more, but the more and more I look at this, it's a two way street. People complain about anything and everything, and although it IS up to the company's discretion, they themselves need to show where they stand: worry about offending people/getting a bad rep, or just putting the darn thing out for fans. The companies themselves aren't entirely blame them on the issue, even though I get their scares. It's also a little hypocritical when the same company DOES put out other games that sexualize women or whatever, but call out some games to be "worse". It's silly on BOTH sides, as far as I'm concerned.
     
  3. Chaosblade77

    Chaosblade77 Well-Known Member

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    I think in most cases "objectification" is a more accurate term than "sexualization."

    As long as it doesn't involve children (technical or otherwise) I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other.
     
  4. TiamatNM

    TiamatNM New Member

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    Unless a game is for real going to get an AO rating there is nothing to really be worried about. I think a lot of companies are afraid for no reason. People will still buy their games even if other people are complaining about how wrong it is.
     
  5. Ryos

    Ryos Active Member

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    Speaking of oddities as far as censorship go, I thought it was interesting that Monster Monpiece got a number of edits for its release on Vita but the Steam port (on a digital distribution platform with quite a few censored titles as far as this kind of content is concerned) is not. I can't say the edits were enough to get me to buy it again but it's always interesting to see what is deemed allowable or not from a publishing perspective - such as the Senran Kagura character age obfuscation.

    But mostly I find it unusual that a lot of people always complain because games never want to grow up, then some tread into uncomfortable territories and many (other?) people cry foul.

    Certainly the biggest caveat here, much as Chaosblade already touched upon, is Japan's all too pervasive loli glorification. As I get older, the topic gets all the more disconcerting as far as I go, though certainly the fact I am old enough to be their biological father plays no small part in that.
     
  6. Akeashar

    Akeashar Active Member

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    As someone in another comments section said best, those that look at petite figures in games and view it as sexualisation are themselves projecting their own desires on to it. The rest of us just view it as a different class or character, nothing more. I enjoy interesting costumes and designs from an aesthetic viewpoint, which is why all the wailing and gnashing, pulling of hair and self flagellation over a swimsuit bewilders me because I don't view it from a sexual viewpoint. Its the people that cry and moan and complain that are sexualising, that are objectifying it. And by doing it to a game, they are by extension doing it to society in large. They're the type of people that women have been marching against the last few years with their right to wear what they want and act how they want without being shamed. It reminds me of the real life example of so many politicians of a Republic or conservative bent railing against the sins of the flesh... and then being caught out in gay pickup areas or being frequent purveyors of prostitution. Those that Protest Too Much.

    I think that the cultural mindset of wowser commentators and journalists that small breasts and youthful appearance = child and sexualised is disturbing, demeaning and more than a little creepy. Certainly for the women I know in family, work and socially with petite figures, and still look under 20 while being in their mid to late 20s. Realistically, the world is full of all shapes and sizes, and theres no reason why they shouldn't be portrayed as such in other media. Such as Marie Rose, who is outright stated to be 18 but the wowsers in the world seem to be under some groupthink delusion thats she younger. And her existence should be celebrated as bringing another body type and style of character into a series where the argument could be made that there are too many Kasumi-clones (literally)
     
  7. Ringwraith

    Ringwraith Well-Known Member

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    Console holders are certainly more cagey about such things than Valve is with Steam, as they have to pass on everything themselves so there is more responsibility on them.
    Although Steam can have slightly different versions, it's not like it's difficult for that to be changed if you really want, and you can't stop that, thus they don't care a massive deal I don't think.
     
  8. GlennMagusHarvey

    GlennMagusHarvey New Member

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    Color me frequently skeptical of the complaints people have about censorship.

    Sometimes it makes sense, such as the stuff I've heard about how there are major changes to the story and characterization in If My Heart Had Wings.

    On the other hand, sometimes it's a load of patent nonsense, like the complaints about that one still image in Fortune Summoners that had three dabs of color in one still image, a change with no story or gameplay significance, and made by the original artist, who did it because he agreed with concerns about the possibility of his work being misinterpreted.

    Furthermore, no matter what the changes are, that not license for fans to be jerks about it. The degree of entitledness that I've seen expressed by these jerkish fans who intend to voice their complaints in order to "teach a lesson" to publishers -- such as people who waltz into the Trails in the Sky boards on Steam going "no JP voice no buy" -- is frankly obnoxious.

    There are some fans who think that there exists some kind of conspiracy of publishers/localizers who want to "dumb down" or "whitewash" or otherwise totally wreck a game in order to try to make it succeed in a foreign market or make it be acceptable to censors or conservatives or feminists or whoever, and that they have to fight back against this, by flaming people on message boards and naming-and-shaming on the internet and boycotting good products just because they don't meet perfect standards. No, sorry, there exists no such conspiracy.
     
  9. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    Even if it does involve children, I'm OK with it, simply because it's fiction -- they're not real children, they're pixels on a screen. And whatever people choose to make with those pixels is their business. It reflects solely upon the creators, and it's up to us to "vote with our wallets" and choose whether or not to buy those products. If we find them offensive, disdainful, disturbing or even deeply troubling, then we can simply choose not to support those products -- and if enough people make that choice, those products will stop being produced.

    If companies instead choose to censor them, however, then they're never actually giving people a chance to weigh in: they're being judges of morality on behalf of the fanbase, rather than letting the fanbase judge for themselves.

    It's patronizing. It's telling people, "We know what's best for you." It's basically Big Brother watching over the poor unwashed masses, making sure they aren't ever exposed to the seedier underbelly of the world because it might wound their delicate sensibilities.

    I think a lot of the people who agree with censorship decisions from publishers are basing that agreement on their personal opinions about the content being censored -- a skeezy minigame, or a sexualized outfit on a 13-year-old, is indeed a cause for concern, and it's understandable why someone would WANT to censor it.

    But in situations like that, you really need to take a step back and ignore the content itself. What's being censored isn't important, but rather THAT it's being censored. It's the idea that someone who wasn't responsible for the creation of the game is unilaterally deciding, on behalf of the entire fanbase, that a certain aspect of the game should be removed or changed entirely simply because they don't like it and don't think it's right.

    Look at situations like If My Heart Had Wings, where not only were the adult scenes removed, but things like hand-holding and kissing were removed as well. Or that Chibi-Robo game that had a very silly and obviously not even remotely sexualized robot butt crack removed.

    The fact that we're willing to accept censorship of a swimsuit, or a racy minigame, means that we're tacitly agreeing to give publishers total control over this sort of thing -- we're basically allowing free reign. So when something like hand-holding or a silly robot butt-crack is removed from a game, we really can't complain about it, because we're ultimately responsible for it. We didn't object when something we disliked was arbitrarily removed... so how can we rightfully object when something we like gets the axe? We can't have it both ways: we can't tell publishers, "you have free reign to censor other people's titles, BUT ONLY UP TO A POINT." That's not how the world works. Poor taste is subjective, so if you give an inch, publishers will take a mile, every time. The only proper position, IMHO, is zero-tolerance (outside of things that would violate local laws, of course).

    Steam is a very odd beast, since it's not bound by the ESRB. Getting your game rated for release on Steam (or GOG, for that matter) is entirely voluntary, unlike with the platform-holders.

    Of course, the counterpoint to this is that Valve has their own content standards, and while they are more lenient than the ESRB in a lot of ways, they're also a little less clear -- it's much harder to determine in advance what is and is not acceptable on a PC release than on a console release. The best approach is really to submit the game as-is and just see what the Valve rep says, and make adjustments accordingly until they give it the go-ahead for publication.

    -Tom
     
  10. GlennMagusHarvey

    GlennMagusHarvey New Member

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    As a gamer (and a fan of various other things), I disagree with the argument that this implication of giving up rights entirely is carried by an acceptance of even any content editing.

    First, especially in this day and age, with the internet, it's quite easy to find out whether some particular bit of content was changed or removed.

    Second, and even in the absence of that first point, as you observed, we as consumers have the ability to "vote with our wallets". If the edit produced an unsatisfactory product, we as individual consumers can choose not to buy it. Now I guess you could argue that someone's gotta be the guinea-pig that goes first, but that applies in the case of lack of content editing too, wherein someone may have had to discover a scene or feature they felt was distasteful. So it goes both ways.

    It's entirely possible that some fans will feel the product is improved by an edit, while other fans feel that the same product has been worsened by the same edit. I personally prefer to judge a work holistically, and on the basis of my own preferences and tastes.
     
  11. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    That's great for you, but what about the people who want to play the game as it was originally created? Why should your preferences and tastes take precedence over theirs? You may say it's because their preferences and tastes are "wrong" or "immoral" -- but that, too, is just your own point of view, and you're essentially saying it's OK for that point of view to be forced upon everyone who doesn't agree with it, simply because you feel it's the correct point of view.

    And yes, the opposite could also be said -- that NOT censoring content is forcing others to see that content even if they don't agree with it -- but there's one significant difference there: the content already exists.

    When you censor a game, you're actively changing the existing product in order to make it more "socially acceptable." You are thus forcing your own moral and ethical standards onto the entire fanbase by specifically altering the product.

    When you leave a game uncensored, you're simply presenting the product as it was originally designed. If you're forcing any moral and ethical standards onto the entire fanbase at that point, they're the moral and ethical standards that were employed by the original creators -- the moral and ethical standards upon which the game was produced in the first place.

    And if you think about other media -- movies, or books -- making arbitrary edits to the original author's work for purposes of social homogenization would absolutely not be tolerated by the artistic community. So why is it different for games?

    The best solution, I believe, is to leave the content intact, but include an option to disable it for those who don't wish to see it -- kind of like what happened with Mortal Kombat on the Sega Genesis back in the day, where the blood was left in the game despite the media frenzy around it, but it was locked behind a secret "blood code" that players would have to enter in order to see it.

    That way, both sides win. If you don't want to see the content, you don't have to. If you do, you can.

    The only people who lose are the people who feel that even having the content optionally available devalues the product. But, to be frank... those people are snobs. ;)

    -Tom
     
  12. GlennMagusHarvey

    GlennMagusHarvey New Member

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    Actually, they're just matters of taste, and I'm okay with their tastes as long as they're not obnoxious about it.

    Ideally, what should happen is that everyone ought to be free to mod their games however they like (so long as they don't disrupt others' enjoyment of the game).

    It's not different for games, and as far as literature and stories in general go I actually side with the notion of "death of the author", and that everyone having their own interpretation and/or enjoying a work in their own way is something I'm okay with, and I also feel that there is nothing particularly inherently more sacred about a "creator's vision" than anyone else's own vision of the work. (That's not to say it's going to be of the same quality -- frequently, especially if a writer or devteam is experienced, said vision is generally going to be a more coherent and arguably better-quality work than an alternative interpretation or modded version. But people should be free to appreciate a work however they wish.)

    Do note that I want those edits to be known, however.

    Perhaps one reason I have a different response than you is that I'm not a publisher, nor have I ever been in that role, while obviously you have. I'm speaking from my own perspective, as a consumer, and I make no secret of this. I'm okay with censored versions if there are uncensor patches available (though I've heard rumors that Steam can be a bit difficult with this). I'm even okay with things like dub name changes, as long as I can get a good story out of them that I enjoy. But if I don't enjoy it, I want to also be able to find out what might have gone wrong, and that includes seeking alternate versions of the material, such as a previous form.

    Meanwhile, as a publisher, you probably have a far different burden, because it's on you to decide what gets through and what doesn't. I can speculate as to what that's like, but I probably won't do it justice. And with that perspective, your stance is probably most reasonable.

    I fully agree with the idea of making this content optional. Same goes with giving an option to turn off, say, sex scenes in visual novels. And other examples. Incidentally, this is functionally the same thing as having a censored version and an uncensor patch available, from a consumer perspective, though obviously, I can understand that it is different from a publisher's perspective, both legally and likely socially.

    I guess my opinion is basically "take it as it is and do my own thing with it", and opening the doors for more options, rather than yelling at people over the internet about things I don't like. I'm just sick of reading "no [whatever] no buy" comments and people attempting to grandstand about censorship and pulling in references to 1984 and Nazi Germany and using it as an excuse to bash SJWs or leftists or religions and so on. Let's not just blame it on the people who don't like seeing sexualized fictional humans -- it's these disgruntled fans acting very entitled and flaming the companies that help bring them the games they like that make some of these game releases difficult. Don't like, don't buy, don't make a fuss unless you're doing something constructive and solving a practical problem with said fuss.
     
  13. Ringwraith

    Ringwraith Well-Known Member

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    The internet specialises in knee-jerk, and often extreme, reactions, because it often acts an echo chamber for them, particularly social media, where they can filter out any dissenting opinions so they just go unchallenged.
     
  14. TiamatNM

    TiamatNM New Member

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    Censorship is a practical problem. Of course people will complain when content is removed for no good reason. Publishers need to see that fans don't like it when they do these things. Just not buying the game doesn't send the message, you also have to tell them why you're not buying the game.
     
  15. GlennMagusHarvey

    GlennMagusHarvey New Member

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    Yeah, but there's also a difference between politely-worded apologies for not buying and leaving curt insults or unleashing long strings of profanity-laden rage on the game's or publisher's forum. There's also understanding the nature of a problem, such as how overseas licensing of third-party Japanese voicework is a huge pain and not basically demanding time travel or else dissatisfied customer no buy will rag about censorship.

    Sorry I'm taking out my irritation on y'all here, as I haven't been here very long. But I have been pretty active in following some number of Steam releases of Japanese games and I just have been seeing this behavior a lot. I think those of us who closely followed Trails FC's release remember just how much of a gigantic headache the voicework thread was, eventually requiring a lock and replacement sticky from floofy, and even then you'd get trollish threads popping up every so often. While that particular example is probably the example least relevant to "censorship", it's still chalked up by dislikers to be part of what they see as a trend of western publishers for forcefully changing and censoring Japanese games just to be culturally-friendly or something. And I've also seen much worse, such as people raging about the minuscule edit that was done to Fortune Summoners (which the dev did, actually!), and seizing on that -- along with SpaceDrake's dislike of the word "loli", and a misunderstanding of a fan's offhand comment about Tera Online that led at least one person to believe that Carpe Fulgur not only worked on that game but had an active hand in censoring the Elin race -- to claim that CF has some sort of pro-censorship agenda and thus should be boycotted.

    Oh, also, occasional pre-emptive "Is this game censored?" threads in the Steam forums for various doujin games.

    To be fair to y'all here, you seem to be a pretty cool and generally level-headed bunch. So far at least. So yeah, sorry, again, for voicing my irritation here.

    Ironic how this happens even when discussing censorship...
     
  16. TiamatNM

    TiamatNM New Member

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    Seems a weird word choice to say "apologies." You apologize when you do something wrong, but customers are not obligated to purchase a product so there is nothing to apologize for. In any case I do agree that if you've got a problem with something the publisher did you shouldn't be just angrily using profanity. They won't pay as much attention if you do that. I'm very anti-censorship but stuff like JP/ENG voice is not something I complain about. I know the Japanese voice acting is sometimes really expensive and the publisher can only afford to english dub it. It's different when it's something like that, where the language is changed so that people will be able to understand it. On the other hand, stuff like bikinis are universal and require no translation.
     
  17. Wyrdwad

    Wyrdwad Administrator Staff Member

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    I do mostly agree with you, Glenn, and I greatly respect your point of view here. While I'm definitely a "no uncensored no buy" person myself, that's not a kneejerk decision on my part -- it's a credo that I thought long and hard about, and which I feel is entirely justifiable. Since I can read Japanese, too, I have the option of importing the original work in almost every case, so I can afford to take a "no uncensored no buy" stance even with games I really want to play, since I can always just play them in Japanese -- a luxury I realize most people don't have. I do often wonder how I'd handle this if I weren't able to read Japanese -- it would definitely be a struggle for me, as I sincerely believe unnecessary censorship is harming the industry and needs to be stopped, and I don't like the idea of my money going to companies that are perpetuating it.

    There is a huge difference between arbitrary censorship, though, and decisions that a publisher had no choice but to make -- not including the original Japanese voices in a game, or releasing a game digital-only, are generally things that are out of the publisher's hands. And even censorship can sometimes be a necessary evil, as the game could've been slapped with an AO rating otherwise, making it unsalable in the West through all typical retail channels -- a fact that can and should be publicly revealed, as it was with titles like Dungeon Travelers (and yet people still took the "no uncensored no buy" approach with that game, despite Atlus being completely open and informative about it, which I think is an absolute travesty).

    We do disagree on Fortune Summoners, though. Yes, the graphical changes are extraordinarily minor, but again, for me, it's not about WHAT'S changed, but the mere fact THAT something has been changed. And yes, the dev made the graphical changes themselves, but NOT of their own volition -- they made the changes specifically at the publisher's behest, and said changes were absolutely unnecessary for getting the game approved by Valve. And as far as I'm concerned, a willingness on the part of the original devs to make arbitrary changes to their work is not the same thing as a DESIRE to make those changes -- when a developer is being urged to change something by their overseas partner, it's common Japanese business practice to be accommodating, whether they want to or not. So for me, Fortune Summoners still falls under "no uncensored no buy," I'm afraid. Unless the original art is officially patched back in, I will not support that game's release.

    That's also a decision I did not come to lightly, however, and is admittedly a fringe case. And I feel somewhat bad not supporting CF on that, considering all that CF has done for us -- but I have to remain true to my ideals, no matter what.

    -Tom
     
  18. Dancougar

    Dancougar New Member

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    Of course I can understand when something like legal boundaries

    What upsets people the most from what I've seen is like with nintendo and guys pretty much said stuff like "If you don't like our edited product with forced memes in it learn Japanese." Which is kinda shooting yourself in the foot to potential buyers tbh. I wish I had the recording.
     
  19. Terro

    Terro Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of Nintendo, what also bothers me is when people get mad at edits and won't buy the game, but still buy and play Pokemon with no problem. That is something barely ever talked about.
     
  20. Chaosblade77

    Chaosblade77 Well-Known Member

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    So Tom, what do you do in cases where the original Japanese version gets censored? :p Like Nintendo's Persona game.

    Admittedly, refusing to buy the game because of that would look really silly. "I'm not buying this game because this character is now wearing pants in this one particular scene."
     

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